Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Artist Story: Michelle Grabner

"How do you manage between being an artist, mother, and teacher? How do you maintain a balanced perspective?

With absolute conviction I believe and practice Ad Reinhardt's thesis put forth in Extreme Routine. 'One paints when there is nothing else to do' he writes. For Painting to be Painting--elemental visual vocabulary and meter unique to the language--everything else has to be 'taken care of.' It is a responsibility and privilege to work within its conditions. Painting is not painting when it props up the self or attempts to tell stories. That activity is called picturemaking. Painting is larger than pictures but not larger than its limitations which are severe and singular and sweet."

I am thinking about the sentence in bold quite a lot in my studio. The notion of believing painting has limitations is counter to much of my studio's premise--

But I am spending these days merely drawing paint across surfaces--wondering what is inherent in the act of that, trying to understand just that motion.

Movement and mark.

I've avoided picture-taking of late--trying to sort some things out in my new space without the need to record or account for here.

I do believe there are process pitfalls to be found in too many words, too many attempts at preliminary explication--making something of what really NEEDS to be nothing for a time.

Is it possible to be an opaque blogger?


melissa dunn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
melissa dunn said...

ooops... I wanted to correct a spelling error and ended up deleting the whole comment, Barbara! I'll try again:

I prefer oblique blogging. Call me a ludite, but the twitter world of incessant documentation makes me plain nervous. To me a good blog is very oblique. I'd much rather peak through the key hole than through the front window.

Ms. Grabner's energy eludes me. She was in Memphis for a lecture last year and I walked away feeling like a sloth! She's really amazing.

I'm not sure there is a perfect formula for fitting in the studio. When I have a slot of time that I'm making work, whether it be for an hour or a month, I'm mostly just grateful to be there. This gratitude extends to 'picture making' as well as painting.

Barbara Campbell Thomas said...

Melissa, I preder oblique blogging myself--and it's interesting you say this because indeed the degree to which I lay things out here has been dogging me of late--how much, how little, feeling a bit like too much overtakes the primacy of the studio.

Barbara Campbell Thomas said...

I'd very much love to hear Grabner speak!